Here With Me

Here With Me

Japanese Jersey girl?
Dido Armstrong
Julian Harris
Kiku Collins
Pascal Gabriel
Paul Stratham
Kiku Collins
Manuel Carro
Nick Cudahy
Steve Shapiro
Tani Trentlyon
Tony Graci
Trevor Exter
Jullian Harris
Jorge Bringas
Jay Rodriguez
Greg Hirte
Andy Ezrin
Alex Alexander
Catalog Number: 

New York, NY

Release Date: 
Oct 16, 2007
1 CD
Here With MeiTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.Here With Me03:12$0.99
2.Mr. Barista03:15$0.99
3.The Messenger04:42$0.99
4.Confidential Obituary03:50$0.99
5.Cartoons of the Prophet04:23$0.99
7.Acid Cowboy03:29$0.99
8.You Too05:27$0.99
9.Blues Again03:47$0.99
One Sheet: 

When fate came calling a while back, New Yorker Kiku Collins hung up her classical C trumpet in favor of the simple and sultry flugelhorn. It was a good decision: her haunting tone has since been heard on commercials and just behind major pop stars the world over. Her mentor, Mel Broiles, principal trumpet for the Metropolitan Opera in NYC, always said to her, "Miss Collins, you need to find a way to get on the television with that beautiful sound of yours". Well, she has, and, if you’ve watched Oprah, The Today Show, MTV's TRL or the American Music Awards recently you’ll have seen her in good company.

She’s more than just Beyonce’s and Michael Bolton's former horn player, though. She’s now stepping into the spotlight all on her own with her debut album “Here With Me” (innova 668). While Kiku has been seen around town, as well as around the world, with major pop stars including Beyonce, Dave Wakeling, TM Stevens, Carmine Appice, Robert Gordon, Sami Yaffa, Jonathan Richmond, and Pat Travers to drop a few names, she has truly found her voice in "Here With Me". This smoothly satisfying album redefines evocative jazzy compositions and rich orchestration. Her multiple tracking on the flugelhorn, muted trumpet and trombone, showcases a level of musicianship of the highest order and demonstrates what a band of Kikus might sound like.

You can come to your own conclusions about what was going through her head or life while writing and recording this album. It's this kind of thinking that will get you everywhere... You can start with a few facts: Kiku is a Jersey girl who wound up in the City, her name means Chrysanthemum in Japanese (where some of her DNA originates), she plays a brass instrument in a man’s world, and is a personal trainer and mother. Caffeine makes all this possible (though you’d be hard-pressed to hear much of that in this laid-back music).

"Here With Me" features fabulous NYC musicians Julian Harris (Co-Producer, Guitars, Electric Bass), Tony Graci (Drums), Nick Cudahy (Acoustic Bass), Jorge Bringas (Acoustic-Electric Bass), Steve Shapiro (Vibraphone), Alex Alexander (Percussion), Manuel Carro (Percussion), Andy Ezrin (Piano), Trevor Exter (Cello), Greg Hirte (Violin), Jay Rodriguez (Flute), as well as her daughter Tani, who makes a very special guest appearance.



Kiku Collins "Here With Me," is almost a force of quiet, but determined, Nature. I met Kiku in New York City just before I escaped to Austin, Texas when she was gigging with the New York City Blues Devils. At the time, I thought they were slumming from New Orleans and parts South. They were that convincing and the horn solos, mostly expertly played by Kiku, were that authentic. Her talent seems second to none, having learned it at a very early age, enrolling at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, after doing a 2 summer stint at their National Music Camp. From there, she went on to study classical performance at Manhattan School of Music. She's very easy on the eyes. Most recently, she's been Beyonce Knowles' trumpet player since June 2006. When I say she's that good, I mean she's THAT good. The overall mood of the album is almost cinematic, and as you listen to it from beginning to end, you'll see the most amazing scenes playing in your head. This is a film score that needs a film. I’ll freely admit that I am not as much of a Jazzhead as I would like to be, but certainly not as much as you are. My forte is Indie and many things Pop, so it would be unfair to comment upon each of these amazing tracks with the opinion of an expert. However, I know good, pristinely produced music when I hear it, and I know what I like. Here With Me doesn’t suffer from the same self-produced unmastered genericism that some music that is sent in to my radio network does. Furthermore, there are only two covers included here. The remaining eight tracks were written by Kiku herself and they sound like instant classics. The album is an understated Wall Of Sound that deserves to be heard outside of the Jazz World.

by Mike Perazzetti


Upon first hearing Kiku Collins, that overwhelming feeling of discovering something extraordinary is unavoidable. To those of us with the overpowering lust for the aesthetics of Melody...these occurrences are special. Someone who consistently dishes-out, track after track...after track of unbelievably beautiful melody is surreal and definitely calls for a celebratory bonfire among devotees of tuneful improvisation. Well beyond her years --- as evinced by the language of her finely accented phrasing --- she can hang a note like a sky on fire over a steady, potent Latin rhythm or do a mid-air pause to highlight (she pauses to highlight) the sweetness of a chordal turn. Musical improvisation requires unfaltering instinct, listening and as equally --- timing. Kiku wields and uses them at her disposal to fully facilitate the vigor of a melodious interplay...from player to player; the free-flow always leads to sonorous mind-vistas, woven together by the spontaneity of a craftily circulating woodwind. Though Classically trained at Manhattan School of Music, Kiku's love for improvised music currently fits her more contemporary projects, such as her gig with "Psycho The Clown" and her running engagement in "Beyonce's" band --- Since June of 2006 --- sees her on a worldwide tour and lots of prime time TV, to live on the BBC, MTV, VH-1 and stages of world class venues.

by Julian Ardella

-Kiku's music feels almost beyond form, transparent, with a sense of stillness and exquisiteness. In my opinion, your music manifests the essence of formless, a full expression of one's life, of your life. Your musicality and creativeness goes beyond words-

by Rafael Picorelli

I didn't even get all the way through "here with me" and I was in tears. It is a powerful and beautiful cd. I felt like I was on a wave of emotion..I knew I was going to love it.. I wasn't prepared to be swept away!..anyone who owns this CD has a gem to be treasured.. Kiku is a gift to the world!!!

by Caroline Johnson

...Mr. Barista is so fun to Cha Cha to in the privacy of your own room... has an aural hint of Austin Powers... Confidential Obituary. I actually kicked back and closed my eyes, listening to that song and I could almost see the sound waves of each instrument overlapping... The Messenger reminds me of The Fabulous Baker Boys... Levitation has a sexy feel about it. That's the light up all the candles and get the massage oil out and find a partner in crime to snuggle and play with... Acid Cowboy should be retitled Reflection cuz you ride the notes like a magic carpet while thinking of your past and all you have accomplished or wish to... You Too is one of those songs that finds you standing at a classy upscale bar with your giant wine glass that you're slowly swirling and your eyes are closed as your head is gently swaying to the melody. Blues Again I would love to hear cranked up on my Ipod while riding on the back of a Harley cruising up PCH on a clear beautiful day taking in the sites. And last but not least...Sakura... The music almost interprets you emotions...

by Donna Tegan


Kiku is a MUSICAL trumpet player. Her phrasing, sound and lyricism remind me of great singers. For me, that is one of the best compliments that I could give to any trumpet player! I really enjoy listening to her CD and would highly recommend it to others. (Trumpet players or not.)

by Mike Vax


"Here with me" is the perfect title for Kiku Collins' debut record. She's inviting you, the listener, to join her. With the title track she puts you at ease and lets you know you're important but you must participate. She almost ends the song with a question or maybe a challenge. You will NOT be sorry if you continue on with her. "Mr. Barista", hits you exactly where it should and lets you know why God created hips! I know it's been referred to as "smooth jazz" but there's a definite pop sensibility in the best way. She wants you to move, lets you catch you breath (Levitation), and lets you feel powerful (Confidential). The array of instruments she performs on gives you colors, sounds & textures unlike other Brass based records. My favorites include those mentioned, as well as, "Blues Again", "You too", and "Cartoons of the Prophet". I'm excited to see where she takes us next! I plan to be there!

by Bob D'Haene

A perfect mellow day. Smart. Sexy. Very well done.

by Sanjuro


I have been waiting for this CD for a long time... here on this CD Kiku is in control, co-writing the tunes and playing her sexy Flugelhorn. No notes in the stratosphere here (a refreshing change from artists who seem to equate range with talent), this is tuneful tasty stuff! And it's even more rich because of the muted trumpet and valve trombone harmonies she adds to the mix. This is the perfect CD for a sunset, a relaxing evening, a mountain drive, anytime you need to de-stress. My favorites are Confidential Obituary, Blues Again, and Here with Me but it's all great stuff.

by Chris McDaniel

Kiku Collins is a virtuosa on Flugelhorn and is backed here by a sensational ensemble. The arrangements vary from conventional to refreshingly unusual; they are precise and exact throughout, and every note fits perfectly. My favorite tracks are "Levitation," "Sakura" and "Cartoons of the Prophet". Excellent!

by Karl, from Hamburg (translated by R. Johnson) can find true knowledge by listening to Kiku's CD, "here with me". I personally felt as though I was walking down a pleasant country lane with a soft breeze cleansing my Spirit. The soft breeze was the skillfull air, used to vibrate eternal sounds that entered my soul, or rather became one with the spiritual essence. Fellow passengers in this life, please do give it a listen.Concentate, meditate, and elevate your Consciousness.

by Andrew McCann


As one who cares for and appreciates the beauty, soul and feeling of the flugelhorn, I can say that Kiku Collins puts more into one note than do a thousand pretenders to her throne. She is the Queen...royalty... To feel the beauty of her music, to live in the moods she creates on this album, is to be alive. I just returned from Mexico, and as the waves crashed in the background, her music washed over me like a pure wave of joy. I was at peace...I felt love, I wanted to play along... Thank you Kiku, for the beauty that is you, inside and out. I cannot wait until the day our music blends and fills the room with warmth, with love and with passion. Until then, I'll hit the replay button...and imagine.

by Jeff Oster

I was first introduced to the music of Kiku Collins during March 2007 and immediately became a fan. Kiku possesses an unrivaled sense of melody and harmony, as well as an effortless style and grace, that permeate her debut album Here With Me. Throughout, Kiku's song writing and phrasing captivates and inspires the listener, offering an emotional journey that transcends any genre. The voyage includes infectious up-tempo tunes like Mr. Barista and Blues Again, as well as more reflective ballads like You Too and Here With Me. Regardless of the style, Kiku's passion and flair are relentless. Here With Me is one of those rare finds that entices you to always play the album in its entirety! To add to the experience, a strong supporting cast provides energetic rhythms, diverse textures, and tasty solos. Most importantly, Kiku's vibrant personality is evident in her music, as it radiates from every sustained note and every thought-provoking chord progression. Teetering on the brink of playful and personal, Kiku's soulful tone draws the listener in like a warm embrace. I have been taken captive by the music of the Ninja Princess.

by Dan Voytek

Here With Me is very musical; thoughtful, and carefully executed. Kiku Collins demonstrates her classic, solid trumpet technique in an un-showy, thoroughly musical way with compositions that combine to create an essentially 'post-modern' listening experience - lyrical ballads; latin grooves; urgent jazz guitar and flute float over a variety of grooves and generic textures - some pop; folk; latin and, of course, jazz. Her brasslines evoke lots of jazz greats but are delivered with contemporaneity and an understanding of the immediacy of good pop melody. Lovers of modern trumpet will hear Ms Collins ability to produce not only a straight 'pure' sound but also the slightly sizzling tone that suggests carnival passion and dance. And as a bonus we get the utter warmth of her flugel; and the rich sound of her multi-tracked trombone section. Buy it!

by Andy Dickens


There is a contemporary sound to this music, a mixture of modern jazz trumpet, fusion, and rock that all blends together surprisingly well. Ms. Collins plays trumpet and flugelhorn like a twenty-first century Miles Davis; there is a Spanish tinge to many of these imporvised solos and also a touch of melancholy, similar to that which was always present in Miles's music. Flute and vibes solos are pretty much straightahead jazz contributions and the rock flavoured bass and drum punctuations are somehow quite appropriate and suitable for this music. The Messenger is essentially a slow ballad with Ms. Collins blowing moody, atmospheric trumpet and Harris shining with a mournful guitar solo. Confidential Obituary continues the dark, sad mood and offers more, intense trumpet playing. The bulk of this session was recorded at Treehouse Studios in NYC and drums and bass seperately at Limebeat Studios, information likely to put some jazz enthusiasts off, but however it was recorded, and further information on the sleeve tells us that the band received a grant from the New York State Music Fund, the result is really good music; in the contemporary manner, in terms of instrumentation and recording practices but sounding fresh and inspired all through. I would urge all enthusiasts to put aside pre-conceived notions of any kind and just listen. It is well worth the effort.

by Derek Ansell


There is no mistake about it, Kiku Collins' new album "Here With Me" is incredibly exciting and very well-done. Great jazz! I have perused my personal collection of some of the best players in this genre of great trumpet players from Louis Armstrong, Maynard Ferguson, Miles Davis, all the way down to Arturo Sandoval and Derek Watson, and this album is one of the best SOUNDING in my collection. The "Dynamic Duo" of Kiku Collins and Julian Harris have put together some very tasteful arrangements that is sure to make this album one of the hottest jazz releases of 2007. The two ballads on this album that are especially impressive are the title song, "Here With Me" and "The Messenger". Collins' sound has never been captured better and she plays with a brilliant fire, a wonderful clarity AND definitely taste. Her funky mid-range statement of the melody in the middle of the "Blues Again" chart blew me away! "Cartoons of the Prophet" and "Confidential" also both give Collins a chance to shine playing the MELODY and knocking it totally out of the park. What else to say? Yes, "Here With Me" has a great sound, a first rate band and some of the best and cleanest Kiku Collins playing I've heard. The sound on this CD is especially wonderful. Buy it and enjoy!

by Musi Faisal